March 31, 2017

(Atlanta, GA) – After suspending the rules just after midnight this morning, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation (HB 280) that will force Georgia’s public colleges and universities to allow people with concealed weapons permits – including out of state 18 year olds – to carry on many places on campus, with limited exceptions.

Andy Pelosi, Executive Director of The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus issued the following statement:

“For the second year in a row, the General Assembly will send Governor Deal a bill that will jeopardize the safety of faculty, staff, students and visitors on Georgia’s public college and university campuses.  The amended version of HB 280 adds additional places where concealed weapons would be excluded, including:  faculty offices, dormitories, and buildings used for athletic events. However, HB 280 has failed to describe the mechanism for how those, and other areas would be implemented. Most importantly, the bill does not address the concerns that Gov. Deal clearly expressed in his 2016 campus carry veto statement, ones that go far beyond exclusion areas.

We first call attention to the failure of HB 280 in addressing the fundamental, far-reaching objections to campus carry that Gov. Deal expressed in his veto statement on campus carry in 2016. Contrary to what many think, that veto statement said nothing about areas of exclusion. [See 2016 Veto Statement] His real objections – for example, that people outside the campus community would be able to carry on campus, and that students under the age of 21 generally would not – remain unaddressed by HB 280, as the Campaign previously argued in a Mar. 3 letter to Gov. Deal [See letter].

Ultimately, Gov. Deal’s most powerful words from 2016 remain as true today – crime on campus should be addressed by increasing penalties for carrying firearms, not removing them altogether:

Since much of the motivation for HB 859 is the commission of crimes involving the use of firearms on college campuses, I suggest to the General Assembly that it consider making the unauthorized possession and/or use of a firearm on a college campus an act that carries an increased penalty or an enhanced sentence for the underlying crime.

Second, HB 280 fails to address the logistical and legal complexities of actually implementing those areas of exclusion –  how people are notified about what constitutes an exclusion zone, and where they are supposed to leave their guns when they enter them. What defines a faculty office, and how are students supposed to know? How – without creating a registry of carriers – are classes with dual enrollment students supposed to be determined?

Third, it is instructive to look at when Texas implemented campus carry (SB 11, 2016). Universities considered excluding faculty offices and places of dual enrollment, and they continue to face these uncertainties. One of the most important questions remain: who is supposed to implement these policies, and under what authority? HB 280 gives no power, guidelines, or restrictions and limitations to the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia. Conversely in Texas, SB 11 laid out these kinds of boundaries. HB 280 does not.

For all of these reasons, we call on Governor Deal to veto HB 280.  Georgia’s students, faculty, staff, campus administrators and campus law enforcement do not want this bill.”

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The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus was founded in 2008 to urge colleges and universities to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda to push loaded, concealed guns onto college campuses. To date, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and more than 420 colleges and universities in 42 states have joined the Campaign. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Kathryn Grant, State Affairs Director, [email protected]

Andy Pelosi, Executive Director, [email protected] (914-629-6726)